James Iha

born on 26/3/1968 in Chicago, IL, United States

James Iha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
James Iha

James Yoshinobu Iha ( Iha Yoshinobu?) (Born March 26, 1968) is an American rock musician. He is best known as guitarist and co-founder of the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins and for his electric musical projects of recent years, most notably being a permanent fixture of A Perfect Circle. He was most recently a member of Tinted Windows, a 1960s/1970s inspired group with members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, and Hanson.

He also co-owns independent record label Scratchie Records with Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and a recording studio with Schlesinger and Andy Chase of Ivy called Stratosphere Sound in Manhattan. Bands on the Scratchie label include The Sounds, Albert Hammond Jr., and Office.

Iha has produced songs, contributed guitar and vocals, and produced remixes for acts around the world, including L.A.'s Midnight Movies, Scottish singer Isobel Campbell, Marilyn Manson, and Michael Stipe. Iha currently lives in Manhattan.

Early life and background

Iha was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which he described as "a boring, middle-class suburb of Chicago."[1] Iha received average grades in high school, and, after a successful two-year stint at a local junior college, he majored in graphic design at Loyola University Chicago before dropping out to dedicate himself to the Smashing Pumpkins.[2]

He is a second-generation Japanese-American and is able to speak only a little Japanese.[3]

Like his former bandmate Billy Corgan, Iha has a brother with a disability.[1]

The Smashing Pumpkins

In 1987 Iha, then playing guitar in the Chicago band Snake Train, met Billy Corgan via a friend. Corgan had already been telling people he was in a band called "Smashing Pumpkins," and decided to make it a real band with Iha.

Iha later became romantically involved with the band's bassist D'arcy Wretzky, but the couple broke up just prior to the band's performance at the Reading Festival in 1992. After a brief feud between the two, Iha sustained a friendly and close relationship with Wretzky,[4] citing her as a best friend.

Iha wrote and sang a number of Smashing Pumpkins' songs, such as, "Blew Away" on Pisces Iscariot, "Bugg Superstar" on Vieuphoria, "Take Me Down" on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, "...Said Sadly", "Believe", "The Boy", and "The Bells" on The Aeroplane Flies High, "Summer" on the "Perfect" single and "Go" on Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music. He co-wrote with Billy Corgan "I Am One" on Gish, "Soma" and "Mayonaise" on Siamese Dream, "Plume" on Pisces Iscariot and "Farewell and Goodnight" on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. He also sang the band's covers of The Cure's "A Night Like This" and Syd Barrett's "Terrapin." During his time with the Pumpkins, James also appeared on recordings with other bands, including Ivy, to which Adam Schlesinger also contributes, and Swedish New Wave band The Sounds.

Billy Corgan has claimed that Iha played very little guitar on the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums, with Corgan himself playing most of the parts in the studio that Iha played live.[5][6]

Iha was often considered the "quiet one" in Smashing Pumpkins, but he was known to engage in ad-libbed jokes and rap sessions at live performances. His humor was encapsulated in his use of the catchphrase, "I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all," originally from the Bon Jovi song "Wanted Dead or Alive".[7][8]

In 1998, Iha released a moderately successful solo album, Let It Come Down. One music video was produced from this album, for the song "Be Strong Now", which was also released as a four-track single.

When his former bandmates Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin revived the "Smashing Pumpkins" name, James did not participate, and in fact has not spoken to Corgan in years.[9] Corgan stated in a 2008 blog entry that when he and Chamberlin reunited, the "door was open" for Iha to rejoin, but he declined, and Corgan said that he "can now say definitively that Iha isn't ever coming back."[10] However, in a recent 2012 interview about the band reformation, Iha stated that he was never even asked back into the band in the first place. "[11] Iha also admitted within the interview that he hasn't heard any of the band's new music since the reformation.

In James' most recent interview in March 2013, he was asked about looking back at the band's history and explained that he never really thinks about his former success with the band, but does look back with fondness when asked about the 6 studio albums he made with them during his time with the band. He revealed that he and Billy have not spoken in around ten years, but that he does speak to Darcy "once in a while".

Post-Pumpkins work

2001-2004: A Perfect Circle, producing, Japan

After the Pumpkins' breakup in 2000 Iha pursued many projects. He continues to contribute to other artists' recordings, such as "Don't Be Sad" on Whiskeytown's Pneumonia released in 2001 and further guest appearances for bands Ivy and Fountains of Wayne, both of which he remained close to, appearing on virtually every release by both bands since 1997. Andy Chase of Ivy, and Adam Schlesinger of both Ivy and Fountains, appeared on most songs James produced or wrote for other artists. Schlesinger first appeared on Iha's song on "The Bells" by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Iha made bigger news when he joined the alternative rock supergroup A Perfect Circle in July 2003 in time for their Thirteenth Step club tour. He has since appeared on their 2004 album eMOTIVe as well as contributed remixes of Blue and Outsider, and is back with the band following its near 6 year long hiatus. In 2003, he joined Vanessa and the O's. The group released an EP Plus Rien in Sweden the same year and followed up with the album La Ballade d'O in 2005-2006 on the bands own label RushmoreRecordings playing live shows in Sweden during the summer of 2005.

More recently, Iha has collaborated on musical and fashion design projects in Japan. He collaborated on and produced two tracks with Japanese musician Chara for her 2001 album Madrigal called "Boku ni Utsushite" and "Skirt." The latter was accompanied by a music video featuring Iha as a hunter in a forest. With the help of longtime friend and manager Isao Izutsu, Iha also started the clothing label Vapor in 2001, and recorded "Never Ever," his first solo song since the Smashing Pumpkins's demise for Vapor's first runway show.

On 2001, Iha played live with The Blank Theory and appeared on their album Beyond the Calm of the Corridor producing the song "Addicted" together with Schlesinger and contributing guitar playing.

2005-2007: Soundtracks, collaborations, remixes

In 2004, A Perfect Circle went on hiatus and James spent much of the year DJing exclusive parties in New York.

Iha scored the Japanese film Linda, Linda, Linda, released in late summer of 2005. The same year he teamed with Schlesinger again to produce a duet cover of Bobby Darin's "Splish Splash" for the soundtrack to the Wayne Wang film Because of Winn-Dixie.[12][13] The same year Iha contributed guitar to some tracks of Chino Moreno's band Team Sleep sophomore album, which has yet to be released.[14]

Iha produced two tracks on the 2006 tribute album to Serge Gainsbourg, Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, "I love you (me either)," that featured Cat Power and model Karen Elson singing and "L'Hotel" with Michael Stipe on vocals. Iha also appeared on the track "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" in a duets with singer Kazu Makino (of Blonde Redhead) on the US edition of the album.

In February 2006, a digital EP "In the Sun" produced by Iha featuring Michael Stipe and Chris Martin was released. The EP was for the benefit of Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. The song was featured on an episode of Grey's Anatomy.[15] Also in collaboration with Michael Stipe, Iha played guitar at the "Bring 'Em Back Home Now" concert in March 2006 in New York City to benefit Iraq war veterans peace groups such as Veterans for Peace.[16][17]

Iha remixed "Me Plus One," a track from Norwegian pop singer Annie's highly successful debut album Anniemal.[18] Released in October 2006, Florida pop group The Postmarks's "Goodbye" EP also features a remix by Iha.[19] That same year, Iha teamed up with Schlesinger to co-produce folk band America's comeback album, Here & Now, and appeared on Scottish singer Isobel Campbell's album, collaborating on her renditions of traditional Irish and Scottish folk songs. In 2006 also James Iha recorded a cover of "Judy Is a Punk" by The Ramones for 30th anniversary of a Japanese clothing label Beams.[20]

In February 2007, Side-Line announced that James Iha delivered a remix for the Ladytron single "Weekend Mixes" out on March 9 via Smoke & Mirrors.[21] In April 2007, he recorded remix for the Midnight Movies track "Patient Eye."[22]

Iha appeared on stage with Swedish band The Sounds, on the season finale of MTV's Bam's Unholy Union in April 2007 and contributed guitar to the song "Seatbacks and Traytables", on Fountains of Wayne's 2007 album Traffic and Weather. His former bandmate Melissa Auf der Maur also contributed to that album.

2007present: Solo album, return to A Perfect Circle

In the spring of 2007, Iha told Rolling Stone magazine that he was writing and recording songs for a second solo album. In the spring of 2007, Iha remixed Midnight Movies and The Postmarks as freebies on the Internet.[23][24] A Chicago weekly reported in June 2007 that Iha had been living in New York City for some time, running a recording studio and independent label. Iha had lived in Manhattan since 2000 and has since moved to Brooklyn.

Also in 2007, the Smashing Pumpkins reunited without Iha, and Billy Corgan has claimed at various times that this was because Iha had never expressed any interest in rejoining the group.

In May 2008, Marilyn Manson said that Iha would be making a guest appearance on his new record; however, Iha was not credited as a guitarist on the album.

On December 22, 2008, the Swedish band A Camp put out a press release announcing that their new album would come out on April 28, 2009, featuring guest appearances by Iha and other musicians.[25]

On February 17, 2009, it was announced that James Iha had, together with Taylor Hanson, Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos formed a new band called Tinted Windows. The band played their first publicized gig at SXSW in Austin, Texas on March 20. Their first album was released on April 21, 2009 to generally positive reviews.[26]

In April 2010, the official James Iha Web site reopened. According to the site, Iha considered his next solo album "halfway done (in his mind)." Shortly thereafter, a picture of James Iha with Kelly Pratt and Jon Natchez from the band Beirut was posted on the Web site saying they would be playing horns on the album.[27]

In August 2010, members of A Perfect Circle posted messages to their Twitter accounts telling fans of their return after a 6 year long hiatus. The band later announced tour dates in which they would be playing the entirety of each of their three albums at each concert, with one album being played per night. It was also announced that the line-up would consist of Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel, Josh Freese, Matt McJunkins, and James Iha.

Iha's second solo album titled Look To The Sky was released in March 2012.[28] To begin its promotion, Iha performed at the 2nd EMI ROCKS festival in Saitama, Japan in February 2012, and later in December that year performing a small European tour in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Lisbon.


Solo albums
  • 1998  Let it Come Down
  • 2012  Look to the Sky
With Smashing Pumpkins
  • 1991  Gish
  • 1991  Lull
  • 1993  Siamese Dream
  • 1994  Pisces Iscariot
  • 1994  Earphoria
  • 1995  Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • 1996  The Aeroplane Flies High
  • 1998  Adore
  • 2000  Machina/The Machines Of God
  • 2000  Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music
  • 2001  Rotten Apples
  • 2005  Rarities and B-Sides
With A Perfect Circle
  • 2004  eMOTIVe
  • 2004  aMotion
With Whiskeytown
  • 2001  Pneumonia
With Vanessa and the O's
  • 2003  La Ballade d'O
With Tinted Windows
  • 2009  Tinted Windows
Soundtrack appearances
  • 2005  Because of Winn-Dixie soundtrack (with Adam Schlesinger on track 5)
  • 2005  Linda Linda Linda soundtrack (movie by Nobuhiro Yamashita)
Guest appearances
  • 1997  Apartment Life (with Ivy)
  • 2001  Long Distance (with Ivy)
  • 2003  Welcome Interstate Managers (with Fountains Of Wayne)
  • 2003  Wonderfully Nothing (with Brookville)
  • 2004  Auf der Maur (with Melissa Auf der Maur)
  • 2005  In the Clear (with Ivy)
  • 2006  Milkwhite Sheets (with Isobel Campbell)
  • 2007  Traffic and Weather (with Fountains Of Wayne)
  • 2009  Colonia (with A Camp)
  • 2010 - Hawk (with Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan)


  • 1994  Vieuphoria (VHS)
  • 2001  Smashing Pumpkins - Greatest Hits Video Collection (DVD)
  • 2005  Charlie Charlie (Videoclip by Vanessa and the O's)

Smashing Pumpkins songs written, co-written or covered by Iha

Written by James Iha

  • "Wave Song" from Mashed Potatoes
  • "Blew Away" from Pisces Iscariot
  • "Why Am I So Tired?" from Vieuphoria and Earphoria
  • "Bugg Superstar" from Vieuphoria and Earphoria
  • "Take Me Down" from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • "...Said Sadly" from The Aeroplane Flies High
  • "Believe" from The Aeroplane Flies High
  • "The Boy" from The Aeroplane Flies High
  • "The Bells" from The Aeroplane Flies High
  • "Summer" from the "Perfect" single
  • "Go" on Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music

Co-written with Billy Corgan

  • "I Am One" from Gish
  • "Soma" and "Mayonaise" from Siamese Dream
  • "Plume" from Pisces Iscariot
  • "Farewell and Goodnight" from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • "Tribute to Johnny" from "The Aeroplane Flies High"

Covers sung by Iha

  • Syd Barrett's "Terrapin" from I Am One
  • The Cure's "A Night Like This" from The Aeroplane Flies High
  • Tom Waits's "Ol' '55" (performed live in 1999 at the Bridge School Benefit concerts)[29]
  • The Human League's "Don't You Want Me" (performed live as a duet with Melissa Auf der Maur in 2000 tour)[30]
  • David Bowie's "Kooks" (performed live in 1993)[31]
  • David Bowie's "Rock 'n' Roll with Me" (performed live in 2012)



  • Fender Jazzmaster (as seen on Zero video)
  • 1980s Les Paul Custom
  • 1984 Ebony Gibson Les Paul Custom
  • Gibson Flying V (as seen in Bullet with Butterfly Wings Video)
  • Gibson SG-Custom (1980s)
  • Gibson SG Les Paul Custom 30th Anniversary (1991)
  • Rickenbacker 360
  • Fender Bronco
  • Fernandes Telecaster (used for the Adore Tour)
  • 1960s Teisco K2L (as seen in Rocket video)


  • Fender Twin Reverb Amp
  • Marshall JMP-1 Pre-Amp
  • Mesa-Boogie Tri-Axis
  • Orange Overdrive 120 Head & Cab


  • DigiTech DHP-55 Harmony Processor
  • DigiTech GSP2101 Effects Processor
  • EBow
  • Electro Harmonix Electric Mistress (18v Version)
  • Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
  • Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phaser
  • Eventide H3000 Harmonizer
  • Boss AW-2
  • DOD FX-17 Wah-Volume Pedal


  • DR Hi-Beam Nickel-Plated Strings
  • Jim Dunlop 1.0 millimeter tortex pics
  • Pedal-cast Extender (German)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marks, Craig. Balom.org, "Zero Worship". Spin Magazine: June 1996.
  2. Mundy, Chris. "Strange Fruit: Success Has Come at a High Price for This Chicago Band." Rolling Stone, 1994/04/20.
  3. Smashing Pumpkins interview, Japanese TV, 1992. Available on Vieuphoria just prior to the performance of "Slunk."
  4. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  5. Azerrad, Michael. "Smashing Pumpkins' Sudden Impact", Rolling Stone. October 1, 1993.
  6. Chamberlin, Jimmy; Corgan, Billy (interview subjects). Inside the Zeitgeist (Reprise Records, 2007).
  7. Smashing Pumpkins. Interview Magazine, February 1996.
  8. Iha, James. On-stage banter. Smashing Pumpkins live at the United Center. 2000-11-29.
  9. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  10. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  11. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  12. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  13. Because of Winn-Dixie at the Internet Movie Database
  14. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  15. CMJ News Story
  16. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  17. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
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  20. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  21. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  22. StereoGum.com New Midnight Movies - "Patient Eye (James Iha Remix)" - Stereogum]
  23. Stereogum.com, Stereogum New Midnight Movies - "Patient Eye (James Iha Remix)"
  24. Stereogum.com, Stereogum "Quit Your Day Job": The Postmarks
  25. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  26. Billboard.com, Iha, Carlos, Hanson, Schlesinger Form Band
  27. http://jamesiha.com/ "News"
  28. http://www.emimusic.jp/artist/jamesiha/ James Iha on EMI Music Japan (Japanese). Retrieved 2011-12-22
  29. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  30. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  31. Blamo.org, Siva - The Smashing Pumpkins Web Site: Songs - Kooks

This page was last modified 21.04.2014 07:41:25

This article uses material from the article James Iha from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.